Old Time Radio Cookie Recipes

Banana Oatmeal CookiesHomemade Banana Oatmeal Cookies
(Source: ©xo4uvkino/Depositphotos.com)

Radio cookie recipes were popular back in the 1940s and 1950s. Housewives would listen to their favorite programs and diligently write the recipes given over the airwaves. I knew to be quiet while Mom sat at the kitchen table pencil in hand, waiting for the daily recipe to begin. Radio recipes tended to be simple with few ingredients and a series of steps, but the results were delicious. Get ready to experience the golden days of radio cooking shows.

Radio Cookie Recipes

The Mary Lee Taylor ProgramThe Mary Lee Taylor Program
(PD Source: Deliciously Yours)
Old Time Radio Icon

Here is Old Time Radio at its best. The Mary Lee Taylor Program was the most popular radio cooking show in North American kitchens. Beginning in 1933, the broadcasts ran for 20 years on up to 200 stations.

Listeners followed the soap opera story of a young married couple in the first half of the program, followed by Mary Lee Taylor and her PET® Evaporated Milk recipes in the second half. Miss Taylor was played by Erma Perham Proetz (1891-1944), a noted advertising executive, copywriter, and broadcaster.

Get your pencil ready and listen to this old time radio broadcast as Mary demonstrates how to make a delicious treat the entire family will love.

Stuffed Vanilla Wafers

This episode was first broadcast on September 21st, 1939.

Good morning. Once again John Cole has the pleasure of announcing that another Mary Lee Taylor radio demonstration is underway...

(11:54 min.)

Stuffed Vanilla Wafers Recipe

The stuffed vanilla wafers with their creamy yellow filling, bristling with coconut, have a come-hither look. Here's the entire radio cookie recipe if you missed the above broadcast.


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup PET® Evaporated Milk
16 marshmallows (4 ounces)
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut (4 ounces)
6 ounces vanilla wafers (36 at 2-inch diameter)

Small Photo of Mary Lee Taylor

Mary Lee Taylor's Instructions:

Melt over boiling water 2 tablespoons butter, blend in 2 tablespoons flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, stir in slowly 1/2 cup PET® milk. Cook until thick and smooth, stirring constantly, then add 16 marshmallows, continue cooking while stirring until marshmallows are melted.

Remove from heat and fold in 1-1/2 cups shredded coconut. Cool thoroughly.

Spread on flat side of 18 vanilla wafers, cover with 18 vanilla wafers putting flat sides of wafers next to filling. Makes ample for six (servings).

Filling enough for 24 Graham crackers, if substituted for wafers.

Additional tips are given in the program recording.

My Grandmother's and My Changes

A valued visitor to this site has very kindly submitted the following changes to the vintage radio cookie recipe for Stuffed Vanilla Wafers:

After you have made the Stuffed Vanilla Wafers melt a small bag of chocolate chips in a saucepan over boiling water. Dip the stuffed vanilla wafers into the chocolate and place on cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet. Allow time for cooling.

Alternative Fillings:

Instead of coconut, use 1-1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts. Or, use 1-1/2 cups mini chocolate chips, or milk chocolate chips, or whatever you fancy.

In fact, if you would like a truly flavorful filling, you can use 1/2 cup coconut, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips for a bigger bang for your taste buds.

My Grandmother always said anything tastes better with chocolate. I am sure she would have liked how I've made these changes. —Jackie S.

Other Radio Cookie Recipes

by Mary Lee Taylor (c.1940s)

Banana Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

1. Turn on oven and set at 400°F (hot).

2. Sift together onto piece of paper 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

3. Put into 2-quart bowl 1/2 cup soft shortening.

4. Mix in gradually 3/4 cup sugar.

5. Beat in 1 egg.

6. Stir in about 1/3 of flour mixture.

7. Then stir in about 1/2 of a mixture of 3 tablespoons PET® Evaporated Milk and 1/2 cup mashed banana.

8. Stir in half of rest of flour mixture. Stir in rest of milk mixture. Add the flour mixture that is left and mix well.

9. Mix in 2 cups uncooked rolled oats (quick cooking kind).

10. Drop by teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie pan. Bake near center of oven 10 minutes, or until light brown. Remove from pan at once. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Cinnamon Bars Recipe

Baking Tip

To ensure the nut mixture sticks to the bars, spread the egg white to the very edges of the batter. Then sprinkle the nut mixture evenly to cover the whole top.

1. Turn on oven and set at 350°F (moderate).

2. Grease well 9-inch square cake pan.

3. Sift together onto piece of waxed paper 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Mix in a 2 or 3-quart bowl until light and fluffy 1/3 cup soft shortening and 2/3 cup brown sugar.

5. Add and beat hard one egg yolk.

6. Stir in 1/2 of flour mixture.

7. Then add a mixture of 1/3 cup PET® Evaporated Milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

8. Stir in rest of flour mixture. Spread in greased pan.

9. Beat with a fork just until foamy 1 egg white.

10. Spread carefully over top of batter in pan.

11. Sprinkle over beaten egg white a mixture of 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 cup finely cut nuts.

12. Bake near center of oven 30 minutes, or until cake pulls from sides of pan. Cut into 3 x 1-1/4-inch bars while warm. Let cool in pan. This retro radio cookie recipe makes about 21 bars.

Banana Coconut Cookie Recipe

Banana Coconut CookiesHomemade Banana Coconut Cookies
(Source: Deliciously Yours by Mary Lee Taylor)

Make this radio cookie recipe and watch the youngsters go for these yummy treats!

1. Turn on oven and set at 375°F (high moderate).

2. Mix in a 2-quart bowl 1-1/2 cups biscuit-mix, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup PET® Evaporated Milk, 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana, and 1/4 cup melted shortening.

4. Then stir in 1 cup canned, flaked coconut.

5. With 2 teaspoons, drop mixture about 2 inches apart onto a greased and floured cookie pan. Bake near center of oven 10 minutes, or until light brown. Take from pan at once and cool on a wire cake rack or folded towel. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Graham Squares Recipe

Chocolate Graham SquaresHomemade Chocolate Graham Squares
(Source: Deliciously Yours by Mary Lee Taylor)

Folks like these bar cookies better than candy!

1. Turn on oven and set at 350°F (moderate).

2. Mix well in 2-quart bowl 1-1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup PET® Evaporated Milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces, 1/2 cup broken nuts, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Spread in a well-greased 8-inch square baking pan.

4. Bake near center of oven for 30 minutes, or until cake pulls from sides of pan. Take from oven and cool. Store covered in pan. These squares will stay moist for several days. Cut into 1-1/2-inch squares as needed. This radio cookie recipe makes 2 dozen squares.

Evaporated Milk Substitute

For each cup of Evaporated Milk, you can substitute 1 cup half and half or 1 cup light whipping cream, but for the closest flavor to Evaporated Milk, gently simmer 2-1/4 cups whole milk in a saucepan until reduced to 1 cup.

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